One of the most popular Koh Chang activities is a boat trip to the outlying islands, in particular a day’s snorkeling at Koh Rang.
With almost all boats heading out from Bang Bao down on the west coast, there are a whole host of companies and choices. As a guide, the 3 Island trips concentrate on Koh Wai, with Koh Laoya and Koh Klum normally the other two islands. The 4 island and 5 island head principally to Koh Rang and its tiny surrounding uninhabited islands, though they will likely call in at Koh Wai on their way past.
Catering mainly to the tour groups, Sattra Tour, Permpoon and Koh Chang Boat Trip ply the 5 island route, offering cheap prices on their large wooden boats, with simple bench seats in rows. Kontiki Tours, with its own brightly painted 3 decked large wooden boat, also goes down to Koh Rang, but this is a different beast to the other three, all together a much more upmarket choice.
All tours serve lunch as part of the package, but Kontiki also serves up a buffet breakfast, which sets it apart from the others. Additionally, as it does not take large groups, it never gets too crowded so there lots of space to really kick back and relax. On board the boat, the first deck is reserved for the food and drink, with the chance to eat at bench tables rather than balancing things on your lap. Upstairs on the second deck, you can sit where you want or you can head up still further to the third tier for sunbathing.
Kontiki Tours – Koh Wai
On a typical day, Kontiki collects you from your resort between 08.00am and 08.40am with its free shuttle taxi. The boat is moored at the far end of Bang Bao Pier, so after a few minutes walk through all the shops which line either side of the walkway, you should be ready for departure around 09.00am.
The first island you pass as you chug out to sea is the uninhabited Koh Klum but on board, breakfast is already laid out, a selection of cold meats, scrambled egg, rolls, coffee or tea. Just as you finish tucking into that, the boat pulls up for its first stop at Koh Wai.
The large tour boats moor up at either the piers of Koh Wai Paradise or Pakarang Resort and with them all arriving together, things can get very busy indeed. Kontiki instead continues onto the southern end of the island, where it lays anchor offshore from one of Koh Wai’s best beaches. Other smaller boats do visit this area too, but it’s still much quieter than elsewhere on Koh Wai, so well worth the stop. You are ferried ashore in a small boat for the 45 minute break or the fittest can easily swim in to shore.
Kontiki Tours – Koh Rang
Continuing on down through the small rocks and islands of the Koh Chang archipelago, there’s 52 islands in total by the way, the next major landmark is Koh Rang. Passing its pontoon bridge and Marine Park buildings, Kontiki moors up this time next to Koh Laun, a tiny rock and the first major snorkeling point. It’s easy enough to swim around the island in about 30 minutes, with small but good coral reefs on the far side and plenty of fish to see.
Koh Yak Lek is futher south and this is the next stop. The snorkeling is terrrific here, with deeper waters than Koh Laun and some excellent coral drops-offs. Each stop is around an hour, so it gives you plenty of time to snorkel and then relax on board or just play in the water.
The boat staff also now serve lunch, a smorgasbord of Thai Green curry, barbequed chicken, stir fried vegetables, fried rice, potato salad, green salad and fruit. You can buy cold beers and other soft drinks.
Kontiki Tours – Monkey Rock
If it has time, Kontiki does then circumvent Koh Rang before heading back to Koh Chang. There’s afternoon cake and tea on the first deck, before the final stop at Monkey Rock, just outside Bang Bao Bay. The boat bobs around a few metres away from the cliff as the boys throw the day’s leftovers to an ever growing troop of wild monkeys. It’s great for photos and the kids love it.
The boat finally pulls into harbour at 5.00pm and then drops everyone back at their resorts with the free shuttle taxis.
The Kontiki boat trip is 1,500bt per person. You must also pay the 200bt government tax direct to the park rangers in their inflatable dinghy once the boat stops in Koh Rang.